Bruno Coelho is the top seed for qualifying at the season finale of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series in Slovakia. The Xray driver took full ‘home advantage’ to set the fastest 3-consecutive laps in both rounds of practice, improving by almost 3/10ths in the second run. Behind him Infinity’s Akio Sobue was best of the rest with his first time very close to that of Coelho but he would be slower on his second attempt. Newly crowned European Champion Ronald Völker would post the 3rd fastest time, the Yokomo driver however also unable to better his opening pace in the final practice. Overall it was a strong practice for the Yokomo team with Christopher Krapp fourth quickest while Yannic Prumper completed the Top 6. In between them was Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski, the British manufacturer also showing well with Elliott Harper also in the top qualifying heat after putting in the 7th fastest time ahead of Marc Rheinard.
‘It’s going very good. As normal here our car wells very well and we just had to make only small changes’, was Coelho’s reaction after practice. Winner of the event for the last three years running, he continued, ‘Also the wind is no problem today and I hope it will be like this for the next two days also. Sometimes there can be a wind that is a problem because of the high speed straight and because we have to turn a little towards the end its can cause problems’. The Portuguese driver concluded, ‘the car looks fast on the first 3-laps and is very stable for the 5-minutes. The drop off is not so much and it is only really over the last two laps’.
Sobue was pleased with his early form but having changed the car for the final practice he will go back for Q1, the opening two rounds of the four scheduled qualifiers taking place this evening. The Japanese driver said, ‘I changed to a hard front spring for the final practice and it was not so good so I will go back for qualifying’. With the team struggling with drop off at the previous round in Apeldoorn, he is confident things will be better here saying, ‘I think for 5-minute we will be ok too’. Team-mate Rheinard opted to run his car without ARS in controlled practice and didn’t like how the rear of his car felt. Having shown good pace in the final free practice when he was second fastest behind Coelho, the 2014 Hudy Arena race winner said, ‘the car was really good in free practice 7 so I will go back to what I ran then’.
Summing up his practice, Volker said, ‘I struggled a bit in free practice because I couldn’t get the RTC (ARS) to work so I opted to go to standard suspension for controlled practice and I improved my pace and position’. The World Champion continued, ‘Overall I am still not happy with the balance and I think the diff was too hard in the last one so I will go back to a softer one for qualifying’. He concluded, ‘Bruno is quite quick but Yannic has a very good average lap time so it is looking promising for Q1’.
‘It was going pretty good but I had a huge crash in the second (controlled) practice. Something strange happened on the first lap and I flew off at the end of the straight’, explained Krapp at the end of the practice. The German continued, ‘I hit the fence and nothing big is broken but I still need to fix it which is not ideal before the first qualifier’. Setting his fourth fastest time for the round he did complete, he said, ‘the first 2-3-minutes is ok but then it drops of quite a bit. I couldn’t test the changes in the second controlled practice so I will just fix the car and see how it is in Q1’.
Better known for his exploits as Schumacher’s star of the Euro Offroad Series, Orlowski said, ‘It is going good since the first practice. We did some changes at the beginning but since then the car has been the same’. The Polish driver added, ‘I think there is small differences between the sets of tyres and I didn’t have the best set in the last one. The car felt different to the previous run’. He concluded, ‘both cars are in the Top 10 so I’m feeling pretty confident for the weekend’.
Prumper said, ‘My car is pretty good and I have a really good 5-minute pace. The first 3-laps are not the best but my pace is fast and consistent for the rest of the run so I’m pretty confident for qualifying’. Having tested Yokomo’s ARS system, the German said ‘it was the same’ in terms of laps times but without it his car ‘felt easier to drive’.